President Henry J. Eyring and Kelly Eyring

“One component of your degree—either a major, a minor, or a certificate—will be directly related to a career you find attractive. But you are more likely to be recognized as a natural leader if you complement that set of ‘hard’ skills with crucial ‘soft’ ones.”

April 24, 2018
Writer: Cinthya Rubio

During the first devotional of the 2018 spring semester at BYU-Idaho, President Henry J. Eyring talked to students about preparing to be leaders once leaving the university. Sister Kelly Eyring shared an analogy Brother Jackie Nygaard first shared last semester, that we need to prepare to build our lives puzzle pieces.

“Figuring out where you should be and what you should be doing is a lot like putting together a puzzle,” Sister Eyring said.

She said the puzzle piece example is a great analogy for our lives, and we do know there is a completed picture that we are creating but we can’t see it just yet.

Sister Eyring said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio how we have roommates, wards, professors, and church leaders who are able to help us build our puzzle.

“We've been told that our lives have a plan and that there is, there is a completed picture, we just can't see it all yet,” Sister Eyring said. "To be able to work on those little pieces with the assistance of professors here, and our roommates and our parents at home and our families, but to be able to work on that puzzle and know that it really will turn out in the end if we're patient and if we listen for the Holy Ghost to guide us it's like a puzzle, a great puzzle, a fun puzzle."

President Eyring began his talk by sharing a clip of President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from a devotional at BYU-Idaho in 2010. President Nelson said education is a religious responsibility.

“Your mind is precious! It is sacred. Therefore, the education of one’s mind is also sacred. Indeed, education is a religious responsibility,” President Nelson said. “Our Creator expects His children everywhere to gain an education as a personal endeavor.”

President Eyring told the students in it doesn’t matter how far along you are in your education, it may be beneficial for everyone to take a step back and ask yourself, ‘How can I make the most of my educational opportunities at BYU-Idaho?’

He mentioned how there may be students who are currently doubting their majors or how they will be able to use their degrees after graduation. President Eyring shared a story about how he had to learn from his mistakes.

He said he had only applied to one graduate school, The Harvard Business School, and decided to apply without having the recommended two-year work experience.

When the rejection letter came it turned his whole life upside down, especially because it was a month after he and Sister Eyring had gotten married and he had no backup plan.

President Eyring gave students the advice that a college education is a lot more than just a major.

“It’s true that this choice matters because it will determine which academic subject you study most,” President Eyring said. “Yet, for many college graduates, their major turns out to be only loosely related to the jobs they perform through the course of their lives. In fact, some people, including your university president, succeed without ever putting into professional practice the specialized content of their college major.”

He said it is important for students to have a vision and a dream of what they want to do, but also have a backup plan just in case things don’t work out.

“It’s important to have a vision, even just a dream of what you might like to do,” President Eyring said in the interview. “But then really study that dream to see what is required for it to come true in terms of the skills required, and then also to set up so that if things don’t turn out exactly as you had planned you can still live a good life for yourself.”

President Eyring shared how attending and graduating from BYU-Idaho will make students “natural leaders,” and how it is important to make sure students learn both soft and hard skills.

“One component of your degree—either a major, a minor, or a certificate—will be directly related to a career you find attractive,” President Eyring said. But you are more likely to be recognized as a natural leader if you complement that set of ‘hard’ skills with crucial ‘soft’ ones.”

He mentioned in the interview it is important as students who are preparing their classes for future semesters, to look at people doing the jobs you want to do and talk to them and find out what are the skills they apply. He said to not only find out the technical skills they use in their fields but also the people skills.

President Eyring closed his talk by asking the students to seek help and spiritual guidance while they plan their college education paths. He suggests we talk and seek help from other students, professors, parents and other role models. “Their educational and leadership experiences will help you to plan your own.”

You can listen to the Eyrings’ talks below.